High Blood Pressure is a condition characterized by having a strong flow of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries.1 This can happen due to several reasons like, choosing to live unhealthily, or it can also be caused by a complication of another underlying medical condition or it can be just your genetics.2
Whatever the reason is, the fact remains the same; it’s a major long-term disease that needs to be managed swiftly and precisely to avoid any unwanted side effects.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) puts it:3
“Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney, and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people – having the condition.”
And as such, there are tremendous efforts put into spreading awareness about hypertension, and toward finding the best treatment strategies to manage this health condition whether it’s new medications or healthier nutrition plans.
In this article, we’ve gathered all the information you need to spot any signs of Hypertension and how to improve your diet to help regulate your blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure What Are The Signs and Symptoms?
Nailing a diagnosis of High blood Pressure (Also known as Hypertension) can be tough sometimes because of the imperceptible symptoms associated with it.
Be on the lookout for these signs and symptoms that may signal a diagnosis:4
- Blood in urine
- Heartbeats irregularity
- Trouble with vision
- Flushing of the face
A person can be a hypertensive patient, only when they are diagnosed by a doctor after checking their blood pressure reading (>120/80mmHg).5
If left untreated, Hypertension can cause some serious complications including strokes, heart disease, and death. Thus, it’s important to seek the advice of your doctor to implement the best strategies for your treatment plan.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Some people are different than others. These include:5
- People with Obesity
- 65 years or older
- Those who drink a lot of caffeine-based drinks (ex. Coffee or alcohol)
- People who don’t exercise or sleep much
- Those of African or Caribbean descent
This is not to say that anyone with these criteria will eventually develop hypertension. However, if anyone has these specific conditions, they should take better care of their diet and lifestyle choices to avoid being hypertensive patients.
Diet To Bring High Blood Pressure Under Control
Evidently, pharmacological treatments for hypertension haven’t been sufficient for controlling blood pressure in many patients. Thus, there have been studies done on diet therapy and using nutrition for better management.6,7
With that in mind, new dietary approaches to better regulate hypertension revolved around many strategies including:6
- Reducing Sodium intake
- Increasing Potassium intake
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Adopting a healthier lifestyle of exercise and food
List of Natural Foods that Can Beat High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
1. Greek Yogurt
The great thing about Yogurt in general and about Greek Yogurt specifically is that it’s compounded with both Potassium and Calcium making it one of the best options when it comes to eating natural foods to lower your blood pressure.9,10
So, you may consider adding some tasty yogurt to your diet and gain all the benefits.
Extensive research has been done on the candidacy of seeds whether Pumpkin, Chia, or Flax to reduce blood pressure. This is mainly because they contain healthy ingredients such as:
In addition, promising results from these research studies provided an urgency for adding these seeds into the diet to reduce high blood pressure.11–13
Famous for fighting off vampires and safeguarding humans, research has provided us with another hidden function for garlic.
Several studies have shown that the intake of garlic either in the form of a supplement or naturally has a positive effect on lowering blood pressure all the while being very safe.14,15
Generally, herbs and spices have a calming and relaxing effect on blood vessels that in turn leads to a reduction of blood pressure.16–18
If you’re going shopping, here’s a list of herbal items and some spices to consider buying:
- Black cumin
5. Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils carry a great benefit in regulating blood pressure with their rich nutritional profile containing potassium, magnesium, and fiber. As a result, 8 or more studies claim that beans and lentils have significantly reduced blood pressure in the study participants.19
A study done in 2014 on more than 2000 patients, showed that eating raw carrots proved beneficial in reducing blood pressure even more so than cooked carrots.20
The recommended daily intake for carrots that showed efficacy in another study was 473 mL for the duration of 3 months.21
Since Tomatoes contain a rich profile of Potassium and Lycopene, it has been significantly linked to improving heart health and reducing hypertension. Therefore, next time you’re in the supermarket you should seriously consider getting tomatoes or any of its products.22
This was also concurred by a review study which revealed that consuming tomatoes or its products plays a critical role in reducing heart disease risk and its fatalities.23
8. Spinach and Broccoli
Spinach is a multi-tasker, it’s capable of flushing out large amounts of salts in the body as well as providing it with potassium that eventually works on decreasing hypertension.24
As for Broccoli, it’s backed up by science as one of the richest sources of antioxidants that can lower by improving blood vessels and how they function.25,26
9. Citrus Fruits
Who doesn’t love a soothing cup of Lemon juice on a hot day? Well, it turns out our arteries feel the same way. According to previous findings, citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, and grapefruits all have strong effects on lowering hypertension.27–30
Not to mention they are excellent sources of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that deem them valuable as much as they are tasty.
While it often gets overlooked as a healthy snack, it’s very popular when it comes to blood pressure. This is because figs act as vasodilators that help in getting rid of Sodium inside the blood and reduce blood pressure.31
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” this one is right on the money. Apple has beneficial functions since it contains Potassium, which results in regulating electrolytes and keeping the blood pressure where it needs to be.
Additionally, it acts as an antioxidant which lowers the chances of developing heart disease.
In fact, according to a study to determine the effect of apples on heart health it was revealed that eating between 100 to 150g/day of a whole apple is associated with reduced blood pressure levels among other health benefits.32
12. Olive Oil
This one is considered the Jack of all Trades due to the various roles and functions it plays in our bodies. But perhaps the biggest service it can do to hypertensive patients is the optimal replacement for other risky alternatives like butter.
According to a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, Dr. Massaro and his research team concluded:33
“Due to its high oleic acid and antioxidant polyphenol content, the consumption of olive oil may be advised as the optimal fat choice in the management protocols for hypertension in both healthy and cardiovascular disease patients.”
13. Dark Chocolate
A remedy wrapped in a special treat filled with antioxidants and flavonoids — 60% dark chocolate or more can be a great way to reduce your blood pressure.34,35
Here are some of the other functions related to dark chocolate:36
- Full of antioxidants
- Circulation improvements
- Manages high blood pressure
- Lowers risk of strokes
- Lowers cholesterol
Regulates blood sugar and inflammation
14. Green Tea
If you’re reading this article and you’re a heavy tea and coffee drinker, don’t worry we’ve got you a healthy caffeine alternative that can replace your morning fix, and at the same time, it’s going to reduce your blood pressure.
Yes, we’re talking about the one and only green tea. Fitting to recent scientific data, consuming around 5-6 cups of green tea may result in decreasing blood pressure.37
However, it shouldn’t be consumed in high doses as it can be linked to adverse effects.38
Berries don’t only look good; they also feel good. All the findings so far support the increasing health benefits of berries in treating multiple health conditions and boosting heart health.39
Berries can help improve heart health by doing the following:
- Rich antioxidant properties
- Potassium source
- Contains a dye ‘anthocyanin’ which helps in strengthening vessels and keeping their flexibility
Accordingly, blueberries, raspberries, chokeberries, cloudberries, and strawberries are the wise choice when it comes to eating healthy food that reduces blood pressure.
Perfect for nibbling on when bored or watching a movie, Pistachios never disappoint. Even more so now after we’ve known that they can reduce blood pressure and keep hypertensive patients in check.
This has been proven by more than 20 studies that documented the superiority of pistachios as an antihypertensive natural food source.40,41
17. Fatty Fish
Anchovies, herring, mackerel, black cod, salmon, sardines, bluefin tuna, whitefish, striped bass, and cobia — Are all Oily fish full of Omega-3 that are documented by science to influence reducing blood pressure.42,43
The only thing to look out for when shopping for fatty fish is to avoid those that contain heavy metals like Mercury.
18. Reishi Mushroom
According to the medical literature, the Reishi mushroom also known as the Lingzhi mushroom may have some beneficial medicinal effects when it comes to lowering blood pressure.44–47
Nevertheless, it’s still under investigation so be wary to always consult your dietitian or doctor before trying it as part of your nutritional treatment plan.
19. Carbon 60 (C60)
We save the most interesting for last! Carbon 60 or (C60), also known as Fullerenes. Although this one is not considered a natural food, it’s applied to treating blood pressure among other therapeutic areas.
As mentioned in a previous study, C60 is integrated into many antihypertensive medications resulting in an improvement in the mode of action of these medications.48
However, there’s a need for further clinical trials to prove the validity and possible use of C60 in treating hypertension.
To Sum Up
Choosing what you eat will undoubtedly help keep your blood pressure levels from rising, but it’s not an alternative to medication. So, you must consult with your doctor, keep up with medications, exercise, look for tips on how to lower blood pressure, improve your day-to-day habits, and cease any harmful habits that can contribute to the worsening of your conditions (ex. Smoking).
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